Dear Darling Ones,
After watching Ani DiFranco, Liz Phair, and journalist Margaret Wappler talk about writing and feminism and music my brain is, as you can imagine, soup.
I spent a lot of time in 1996 sitting in the passenger seat of my friend Amy’s car smoking cigarettes and listening to Ani DiFranco’s “Untouchable Face” and Liz Phair’s “Divorce Song” on repeat. Twenty-five years later I can still see Amy’s face as she angrily pointed a lit cigarette at the CD player and sang “when you said that I wasn’t worth talking to, I had to take your word on that.”
So this opportunity to see these two women in conversation, was I don’t even think I can put words to it yet. I mean I’ve been trying for twenty years to explain what Liz Phair means to me and haven’t yet got it right.
But I did want to write about one thing before I finished processing and pondering the whole event. At the beginning of the conversation both Phair and DiFranco discussed writing their memoirs, being honest, and vulnerability.
This was, of course, my favorite part. I loved so much when DiFranco said when she was writing she didn’t think about how vulnerable she was being or what an audience would think.
“The getting it out of my body is the thing,” she said. She went on to talk about how she plays elaborate games of pretend when she writes (songs or prose). The pretending being that nobody will hear/read what she writes.
When she said that I closed my eyes, dropped my chin to my chest, and whispered out loud to my computer, “Me too, Ani. Me too.”
This resonated so much with me because last month an I Will Dare reader asked me, “So when you blog, do you just write like no one is reading?”
Hell yes, I do. Hell. Yes. One more time for the people in the back who are not reading this, HELL YES.
Then I told her this:
I made a decision a long time ago to write my truth and deal with the consequences when they arise. I’ve had many awkward conversations. I struggle mostly, now, with trying to be authentically me while respecting other people’s privacy. It’s hard and sometimes I rely on the whole, “if they didn’t want me to write about them they should have treated me better.”
For me the comfort level comes with wanting to tell a full, rich story and you know that can’t happen when you’re not being fully honest.
You have to do what is best for you. Does writing blog posts where you’re not 100% genuine and fully you feel good? I doubt it. And it’s your blog, you can say right in it: People in my life, sharing this story through writing is my way of processing. I do not want to talk about it. You can also set the boundary with people in your life where discussing your writing and what you write about is off limits. I always like to spin it like I’m doing it for their sake: what I’m gonna write about might be tough for you to read. You might want to avoid my blog.
Anyway, so me and Ani are like writing matchers and that makes me feel super validated. I’ll have more to say about this conversation I watched later, once I’ve had more time to think and my brain returns to its natural consistency.
So many thoughts,
P.S. One fun fact: Ani and Liz had never met before tonight which shocks the shit out of me.